Last week I caught up with friends and peers who I have been in touch with over the last eight months and it’s been fantastic to find out how well so many of them are doing. What was good to hear was the importance a lot of them placed in their family and personal lives rather than choose to talk ‘shop’. Reaching out beyond the ‘black and white’ in business and talking about the colour really lets you get to know the people you work with; I’ve never been one to blur the edges of business and pleasure too much but that never deters me from finding out about the person and not the ‘suit’.
The same goes for when I want to connect with people who have the profile and experience way beyond what I could imagine having. Whilst some opt for the ‘imagine them in their undies’ approach to calm the nerves, I try and imagine them walking around their local DIY store. I’m sure it would be pretty interesting to see how many people you yell for their driving that you would otherwise bow and smile at when in work-mode.
A new friend of mine set out to meet some of the people who have helped influence him as he starts up his new business. I’m helping him out from a business development perspective, so I was really impressed with the way he could visualise his dream and know the people he needed to connect with in order to achieve. The ease in which things have happened proves that a) we’re all human, regardless of our job titles and b) allowing your thoughts and fears can mar your aspirations and stop you asking very simple questions. After all, unless you’ve been issued with a restraining order, what’s the worst they could say?
As well as working with my clients to help develop their strategies this week, I also took time out to start the process of becoming a STEM Ambassador. This programme is in place to help children and young people be influenced and inspired by professionals in the science and technology industries. Some UK counties have really got their act together but it seems Kent and Medway authorities are a little underwhelmed. Ways in which people can help include attending schools and colleges to run a series of activities to show students practical ways in learning more about what it is you do, mentoring, and assisting with helping teachers understand current working practices to keep them up to date. Whilst our previous government heavily funded this programme (and let’s hope it long continues!), only £100 is awarded each time an ambassador lends their time. So whilst there are around 18,000 ambassadors in the UK, there aren’t nearly enough of them actually participating.
So, if you are interested in finding out more, hop onto the STEMNET website and get yourself along to an introductory session to understand how you and your business can give back to your community. I’ll keep you posted on how I get on but if you want to help influence the next generation, then now’s your chance to do your bit.
Susanne Dansey is the Managing Director of Purple Cow Ideas Management – an organisation that facilitates a paradigm shift in the collaborative nature of the ICT Industry. You can follow her on Twitter and join the conversation on Facebook.